By Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja
The International Organisation for Migration, IOM, is working with its partners to help the Nigerian government support 2.4 million people in the country’s northeastern states displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM is also conducting assessments of the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the area and their needs to inform the humanitarian response of the government and the international community.
Speaking at a Workshop by the IOM in Abuja, the Country’s Representative, Emira Krdzalic said in the worst-affected state of Borno, IOM teams were currently working in 15 previously inaccessible local government areas (LGAs) and 86 wards and hoped to access other badly affected areas.
He said: “The data emerging clearly shows very high levels of humanitarian need. According to the most recent DTM report (February 2016), 1,434,149 IDPs have been identified in Borno, out of a total of 2.4 million in the whole area.
“As part of the DTM program, IOM is conducting biometric registration of IDPs in Adamawa and Borno states, as well as in Yobe State, where it is supporting the UN World Food Programme’s Cash Transfer Program.
“As of the end of March 2016, a total of 124,827 individuals – 98,209 in Borno and 26,618 in Yola – have been biometrically registered. The vast majority of IDPs who have been registered live in host communities, where little or no assistance has been provided due to lack of humanitarian access and security concerns.”
Continuing, Krdzalic said: “In support of the National Emergency Management Agency, IOM is systematically collecting data on the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria and neighboring countries”. The data clearly shows the massive scale of the emergency and urgent humanitarian needs. IOM is working with the government and partners to provide humanitarian assistance to IDPs and other affected populations, but the scale of the problem far exceeds available resources.”
He said in addition to DTM and registration, IOM was providing shelter, camp management, psychosocial support, livelihoods and other services to IDPs and affected populations.
The Director General NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi said the contribution of IOM towards addressing the humanitarian consequences of the insurgency in the North East was quite profound and deserved special mention.
He said: “In terms of physical assistance, IOM has supported the NEMA Situation Room, NEMA Gombe Operations Office, the NEMA Borno Zonal Office, and several State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) with office equipment to assist their field officers towards easy access to DTM data.”
There are now seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria, including 1.9 million displaced by the insurgency. Some 92 per cent of the IDPs are hosted by low-income host communities, bringing already-stretched services and resources under increased pressure.
IOM is therefore calling for more donor support, as well as deeper collaboration among humanitarian actors for effective coordination of humanitarian assistance to the affected population.